Are men victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV)? Why the deafening silence among men in institutions of higher learning?
Keywords:Men, Literacy, Gender-based violence, Abuse, Zimbabwe, Higher learning institutions
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a very serious pandemic that has been prevalent in society for a very long time. Its impact has been felt, and exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic globally, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Most studies have shown that women are the majority of victims of GBV. However, very little has been said about men as victims. This study helps explain why a highly literate country like Zimbabwe, has very high GBV rates. This study interrogates why men aged between 18 years and 25 years old, and attending institutions of higher learning in Harare remain mum in the face of GBV. The study adopted a qualitative research design and data was collected using focus group discussions, and semi-structured interviews. To do so effectively, 12 women and 12 men were interviewed in focus groups separately, the former, to explain why they remain silent when abused and the latter to help understand why they abuse men. The findings showed that men remained silent because of cultural norms and prejudices pertaining to masculinity, that men cannot be victims of GBV. Men also remained silent due lack of knowledge on where/how to get help as victims and the fear of emotional instability that would come once they disclose they were victims of GBV. Recommendations include having campaigns that educate that men can be victims of GBV and have more resources that help all victims of GBV.
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